The New Turkish Republic By Graham E. Fuller (Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace Press, 2008. 196 pages.)

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Amr G. E. Sabet



This policy book purports to advise American decision makers about the
changes and transformations taking place in Turkey’s politics and foreign
policy, as well as their reasons and implications. It further counselsWashington on how to deal with the novelties that they may engender. Graham Fuller
argues that Turkey, under Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and his successors, underwent
an imposed “cultural lobotomy” designed to induce a national “amnesia”
about its Islamic and Ottoman past (p. 17). This condition, however, is
ending, for Turkey seems to be experiencing a counter-dynamic and a “return
of history,” away from what the author deems a “transient geopolitical aberration
from a long norm” (p. 8).
Fuller makes his point by asserting, first, that Turkey is again becoming
part of the Middle East and examining its historical trajectory and legacies.
Second, by highlighting the increasing divergence in Turkish-American
relations due to the changing circumstances related to the Soviet collapse
and the reordering of European politics, he sees an American regional
agenda at odds with Turkish national and geopolitical interests, as well as a
Turkish strategic opening to the Muslim world, Eurasia, Russia, and China,
as alternative political and economic options. The author’s broad conclusion
is that how Turkey will act in the Middle East and the Muslim world will
largely depend on the “complex interplay” between the United States, the
European Union, and Turkey’s non-western interests (p. 9). Such a “comeback,”
in any case, is likely to partially dilute and complicate, as well as
enrich and complement, Turkey’s links with the “West” (p. 8) ...

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